Archives for : October 2014

FULL STOP

Two days later…and as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, STOP, the hacker who interrupted the Granville High presidential debate, has been identified as Evan Baxter, a seventeen-year-old student.

You also may have heard that he killed himself. I can confirm it, because I’ve seen the full video of the feds tried to suppress after the debate. (My thanks to the anonymous source who forwarded the video to me; what can I say, sometimes it pays to have fans.) Yes, it’s possible the suicide could have been sstaged; but given that the video was live—and how distraught the boy was (too much so to be faking it), I’m convinced it’s real. I’d love to be able to think otherwise.

Of course the media are making the most of the fact that Baxter had Asperger’s syndrome—as if that somehow explained everything about his behavior. That’s the media for you: just tick off the mental-illness box and call it a day.

Yet part of me wants some explanation for this tragic waste of a young life—want to make sense of it. Maybe Evan was just too young…impatient to make a difference, and ultimately too easily frustrated by failure. His association with Dramatis Personai (if indeed he was a member) should have been an outlet for him; but the tremendous rush of hacking and demonstrating may have given way to bouts of depression when change didn’t immediately follow. Evan’s youth—and possibly his Asperger’s—could have made it difficult for him to accept the diligence, determination, and patience required to prod social change at the hacktivist level.

And yet…maybe Evan had a point. After all the years of activity by Anonymous and Decocidio#Ө and UGNazi and their colleagues—where are we? The 1% are even more entrenched than ever, the American middle class has fallen off a cliff, and megacorporations are well on their way to establishing a kind of global feudalism.

In which case, it’s time for the rest of us to step up our game. I don’t know what the Silence of Six is—but I do know what I’m going to do about it. I’m going to do my job and find out. I’m going to expose it. In tribute to STOP. In honor of Evan Baxter.

I understand the risk I’m taking in being so upfront about this. I’m being watched—we’re all being watched. We’re never as safe, or as secret, as we think. But isn’t that reason enough to stop pretending and take a stand? Evan Baxter tried to take one—young and inexperienced as he was. Maybe he’d still be standing, if there were more of us on the front lines with him.

Stay tuned. If I have anything to say about it, the “silence of Six” won’t be silent for very long.

ONE DAY LATER

Twenty-four hours after the presidential debate at Granville High School was hacked by STOP, we still have few answers as to what happened. The two campaigns, and the school itself, released brief and almost identically worded statements that strove to downplay the incident—position it as a mere prank. The candidates, we’re told, were ushered from the building according to basic security protocols, but there was never any real cause for alarm, and they were scheduled to depart in another ten minutes anyway. That’s it, folks, nothing to see here.

Not a word about the content of the video or the rationale for the hacking. No insights to be had in any mainstream media, of course, as they’re all just divisions of major media conglomerates owned by the same billionaires who have a controlling share in every other goddamn thing in this country.

And disturbingly, nothing from Full Court Press—except the tantalizing fact that the hacking video wasn’t prerecorded…it was live.

That, and one final post merely stating her silence is being forced on her—which should send a chill down our collective spine.

Whatever STOP said—or did—apparently so freaked out the ruling class that they have the entire faculty and student body of Granville High on digital lockdown.

So it’s up to us non-mainstream media to try to find the answers. And for my part, I say we can begin by going to Panjea. What’s that, you ask?…Panjea hasn’t said one word about the hacking since their initial, three-line story yesterday?…Exactly my point. The debate was sponsored by Panjea. Angela Lovett’s biggest campaign donor is the CEO of Panjea. And now Panjea seems entirely dedicated to burying this story as quickly and as deeply as possible.

So I can’t help but wonder: was STOP’s target not the candidates themselves…but Panjea?

Let me know your thoughts. I think I’m on to something.

LIVE-BLOGGING THE GRANVILLE HIGH DEBATE

5:01 PM – Bennett Avery of CNN introduces the candidates. There’s the usual smiling and small talk; there’s usually no opportunity to score a point at this stage of the proceedings, but Lovett manages one when she turns and heads to her podium; she takes the opportunity to whip out her phone and send a shout-out to the school over Panjea—complete with a hashtag (#webdeb). As usual her campaign team is killing it with social media.

5:10 PM – First question of the night is on climate change. You can almost see Tooms groan. He basically bunts—spewing out a carefully constructed party-line word salad that hits all the talking points but basically refuses to make any admission that climate change even exists. Lovett, by comparison, grabs the ball and runs with it. A big early lead for the Governor here.

5:26 PM – A series of questions on foreign policy. Neither candidate has a huge amount of experience in foreign affairs, so they’re free to spout all the idealistic blather they want without having to answer much for it. Not that they don’t take some hits: Lovett denounces Tooms as being one of the Senators who voted for various wars and military operations; and he returns the favor, pointing out that she was for years the head of the secret service. But I think most people understand that her tenure was focused primarily on homeland security. On balance, I’d give this one to Lovett.

5:44 PM – A brisk exchange on Internet regulation. Lovett lost serious ground here, as Tooms questioned her commitment to rolling back the surveillance state, while still backing more government regulation of the Internet. Lovett tried to dance her way out of that one, but she’s not nimble enough for the job, and it tripped her up big time. The only bad news for Tooms is that he puffs out his chest and beams a big grin at the audience; gloating over a defeated adversary isn’t exactly presidential. Still, this round’s clearly his.

6:09 PM – A very revealing exchange on nuclear power. You could see that neither Tooms nor Lovett was entirely prepared for this question to come up, which is a pretty alarming indication of how far we’ve degenerated since the 1980s. Since both candidates are basically in bed with the major power companies, both of them spun wildly without either managing to say anything substantial. A draw…and a very pathetic one.

6:17 PM – A question on the national debt. Lovett manages to regain lost ground by hammering home Tooms’ role in the financial crisis, which was basically, letting all the big banks off scot free for their economy-cratering chicanery. The guy’s face is beet red and he even let out a nervous laugh at one point. Advantage Lovett.

6:25 PM – Next question is from Samir Gupta, a kid from Bakersfield…that means Courtney Garcia’s next. Looking forward to seeing whether she takes any of my (admittedly rather pushy) suggestions.

6:27 PM – Wait a minute—thought there was some kind of technical error. But now a new video just came up…Is that someone in a Dramatis Personai mask? Did they just hack in? Is that even possible? I have no idea what’s happening here…

6:29 PM – Whoa. Double-whoa. The debate has been hacked—actually hacked—and by the looks of it, by Dramatis Personai. Same spokesman…same mask. The video of Granville High, and of Tooms and Lovett is just…gone. Trying to listen…

6:31 PM – The masked hacker—who introduced himself STOP—managed to get one line out before his feed was cut, presumably by the network. Still no Granville High; no idea what’s going on there. Lots of scrambling at our local affiliate to fill the blank screen. I’m still scrambling myself, mentally. Did STOP just directly piss off one of the two candidates for most powerful person in the world? I’m kind of excited by this, but also a little wary. Is it too much, too soon?…Or is this kind of sheer nerve the reason some people are hacktivists, while other of us just blog anonymously from our apartments?

6:42 PM – In all the confusion I managed to forget I was DVRing all this. I rewound and transcribed what STOP said: “Will you end the silence of six?”—a phrase that already surfaced in a previous Dramatis Personai video…and whose meaning is still a complete mystery.

Then…black. Is there anyone out there who can tell me exactly what just happened in Granville High? The cable news channels—worthless, as usual—are only reporting what everybody already saw. I’ve checked Google, Panjea…nothing. Granville students—are you there? Courtney Garcia, this is your moment—Full Cort Press’s moment. Talk to us…!

 

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Clue 5 : Part 2

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YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS AN ANTI-PRIVACY CONSPIRACY

Perfectly timed to coincide with this blog’s recent focus on the state’s increasing invasion of citizens’ privacy, comes this story from dogged blogger ConspiracyScope about Virginia police secretly stockpiling phone records.

I’ll be watching the Granville High presidential debate this morning to see if either candidate has a plan for curtailing this type of abuse. (Please inject the proper tone of roiling sarcasm here.)

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR TOOMS & LOVETT

The Granville High presidential debate is tomorrow, and Courtney Garcia—a.k.a. Full Cort Press, the student/blogger whose essay to CNN won the debate for the school—will be there asking questions. Since Courtney has apparently now discovered Fawkes Rising (and it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, ma’am), I’d like to propose a few additions to the list:

For Angela Lovett:

  • Can you positively and unequivocally say you support net neutrality? And if not, why?
  • What would be your first act as president to safeguard American’s Internet privacy? And how soon into your first term would this occur?
  • As head of the Secret Service, you oversaw the collection and analysis of personal data on private citizens. How do you justify this practice? Do you still support it? And if not, will you act to disable the various security agencies from pursuing it? And will you apologize to those Americans whose privacy was invaded during your tenure?

For Clancy Tooms:

  • During your time in the Senate you’ve voted against equal pay for women, maternity leave, extensions on health care benefits for the unemployed, extensions on health care for veterans and military widows, and expansion of Social Security benefits. What exactly can you offer as evidence that you’re a champion of the common man?
  • You’ve also voted time and time again for tax breaks for Fortune 500 corporations. In return your campaign has been largely financed by donations from those very corporations. Would this quid pro quo continue with you in the White House?
  • Among the many big businesses you support are arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and oil conglomerates like Hallburton. Does this signify a commitment to perpetual war in the Middle East? And if not, what are your strategies for withdrawing from that arena?

I don’t want to be pushy, so I’ll end there. But Courtney, if you want more…oh, boy, have I got ‘em.

INTRODUCING OUR CHINESE MASTERS?

Trailblazing watchdog Benjamin Fulford has released a new video providing disturbing evidence that China now controls the Federal Reserve Bank. Comedians have been joking about “welcoming our Chinese masters” for years. It’s starting to look like the joke might be on us.

A NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

It’s a little over two weeks to Election Day, and with the polls showing no clear frontrunner the candidates are doubling down on the negative. Astonishingly, this provides us with our first opportunity to hear them say things that are refreshingly, resoundingly true. Lovett says of Tooms: “It’s evidence of his contempt for average Americans that after spending decades in the Senate serving as a paid vote for corporate interests at the expense of middle-class taxpayers, he can now present himself, without irony, as the champion of the common man.” And Tooms says of Lovett: “I don’t know whether she’s delusional or just cynical. But after seven years as head of the Secret Service, she doesn’t get a free pass when she tries to position herself as a Joan of Arc for Internet freedom. The woman’s responsible for more transgressions against Americans’ privacy than anyone else currently alive. Vote her into office and you’ll get four years of secrecy, information gathering, and collaborating with Big Tech to control every waking moment of your lives.”

WHY THE ELITES DON’T WANT US TO UNPLUG

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the Full Cort Press blog lately, because its writer, Courtney Garcia, is the Granville High student who won the school hosting honors for the upcoming Lovett-Tooms debate. But I’ve also kept my eye on her because it’s fascinating to watch this sharp, young mind adjust and recalibrate as the realities of our corrupt, authoritarian world become more apparent to her. Her latest post on tech and privacy is worth reading; she makes some connections between tech addiction and the surveillance state that even I hadn’t quite put together yet. And a child shall lead them…

DAVID CHOOSES HIS FIRST GOLIATH

Aaaand the hits keep on coming. (And when I say “hits,” I mean roundhouse punches to the solar plexus.) In its latest video, Dramatis Personai goes for broke, squaring off against social media titan Panjea—specifically for the crime of turning its users’ privacy into a marketable commodity. The justice DP metes out is both impressive and hilarious. Anyone know where I can get me a Dramatis Personai t-shirt?

JAMES COMEY’S NIGHTMARE

With recent revelations by Apple and Google that their new hardware will come with default encryption for e-mails and messages, FBI Director James Comey, proving that the government could really use a PR person, came out on Thursday screaming that it will be the downfall of society as we know it.

Citing the “Post-Snowden Pendulum” that has seen US citizens awake from their sleepwalking ways and come out in support of stronger privacy rights, Comey all but told the public that they have no right to safety or security and has promised to go to war with major tech companies who are simply fulfilling their consumers’ wishes for a sense of security.

Of course, it’s all a smokescreen as those same tech companies who promise their PROPRIETARY encryption software will be impenetrable, EVEN TO THE COMPANY ITSELF, continue to mine data in their ever expanding efforts to sell you to advertisers. In encrypting your selfies and sexts, the monoliths of Silicon Valley have brilliantly found a new customer base: the US government. Don’t be fooled, dear readers. The movement to default encryption does little to protect the consumer and only serves the interests of multinational corporations.

Meanwhile, as hacktivist group, Dramatis Personai, recently uncovered, questions surrounding the FBI’s top secret surveillance tactics, particularly as it relates to data privacy, have come under intense scrutiny by Congress.

Until humans evolve into telepaths, the only safe form of communication for those of us that prefer our solitude, is behind a wall of proxies and bots.